Marijuana Dispensary just outside Florence approved – Community expresses overwhelming support

Posted: Saturday, June 27, 2015 10:27 am

FLORENCE — The issue of medical marijuana dispensaries in Pinal County has at times been a controversial subject. No such controversy existed Wednesday when the Board of Supervisors approved a dispensary just outside the Florence town limits.

Healing Healthcare, located off Arizona 79 just south of Florence on property formerly used for an auto repair shop, will be the eighth operating dispensary in Pinal County. It’s the third in an unincorporated area, while five other dispensaries are located within municipalities.

 The board voted 3-1 to approve a special use permit for the facility. Chairwoman Cheryl Chase, a Republican from San Tan Valley, was the lone vote of opposition; Supervisor Anthony Smith, R-Maricopa, was absent.

Chase, who has voted in opposition to every dispensary to come before the board, did not explain her vote. In the past, her comments have been in sync with County Attorney Lando Voyles, who says medical marijuana dispensaries are wrong and dangerous.

Casa Grande resident Tom Bean told the board he’s tired of Voyles’ anti-medical marijuana rhetoric. He accused the county attorney of spreading misinformation in an effort to influence the board’s votes.

“I am here today to call our Pinal County attorney a liar,” he said, referencing comments Voyles made in a statement Monday about dispensaries hurting the county. “Marijuana dispensaries help Pinal County. (Voyles) is trying to, once again, convince you how (to vote) by lying to you.”

And while certain other dispensaries have received opposition from members of the public, this dispensary had near universal approval from residents in the area.

Attorney Jordan Rose of Rose Law Group represented the applicant — Rocky Pahwa of Healing Healthcare — and told the board members more than 9,000 signatures of support were collected by her clients going door-to-door in the community.

County planner Ashlee MacDonald said staff received just one letter of opposition, and only one person opposed the dispensary at a prior public hearing.

Vice Chairman Pete Rios of Dudleyville, the board’s lone Democrat, also voted to approve the permit for the dispensary. Rios previously voted against a permit for a dispensary in Oracle, although it was approved in a 3-2 vote.

Rios said he places his ideology aside when it comes to deciding whether to approve a permit for a medical marijuana dispensary.

“I’ve always indicated that I will vote not based on what I think or feel on my own, but what my constituents want, and it appears in the Florence area, there is a lot of support for the medical marijuana dispensary,” he said.

The Pinal County Planning and Zoning Commission had voted 8-0 to recommend approval of the permit, with 24 stipulations.

A few dozen residents who supported the dispensary donned green T-shirts and sat in the audience during the meeting. Rose was so confident in the community support that she asked those people not to make public comments to the board — unless board members requested to hear from them — in an effort to move the meeting along faster.


4 places in Pinal County among top for retirement

Four Pinal County developments have made the list of the country’s 50 best master-planned communities as selected by Where to Retire magazine.

The magazine highlights the continuing evolution of active-adult and master-planned developments “into amenity-rich neighborhoods that foster a true sense of community.”

 The magazine says the list is the only one of its kind in the nation focusing on communities rather than locales and featuring first-person testimonials by residents. “The Short List: 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the United States” is in the July/August issue.

The Pinal developments include Robson Ranch in Eloy, SaddleBrooke Ranch near Oracle, Sun City Anthem at Merrill Ranch in Florence and Dolce Vita in Apache Junction. Five other Arizona developments made the list, but no county had more listed than Pinal.

The selections in 16 states won their place in the top 50 by offering an array of amenities such as a full-time lifestyle director at CantaMia at Estrella in Arizona, a rooftop bar overlooking the lake at Cresswind at Lake Lanier in Georgia and skeet shooting or fly fishing at Cordillera Ranch in Texas, to mention a few.

Others offer festivals, farmers markets and workplaces inside the gates as well as dog parks, walking trails and equestrian facilities — options far beyond the traditional golf courses and swimming pools.

“More often than not, the retirees we interviewed praised the sense of community they felt within their neighborhood,” said Where to Retire Editor Annette Fuller. “For these retirees, the perks of master-planned living are much more than the comfortable or inventive housing options and more than just a busy day of activities.”

The communities are not ranked, but rather profiled in alphabetical order by state.



I got this from an old friend who obviously feels the same way as I do about our country. While the video IS about the bird, it is also about what the bird represents.

‘Challenger’ is his name (in honor of the lost space shuttle crew) & is cared for by the non-profit American Eagle Foundation (AEF).
He’s a ‘human-socialized’ bird accidentally raised by the people who rescued Him – after being blown from a wild Louisiana nest in a storm as a baby in the late 1980’s. Declared ‘non-releasable’ by federal and state wildlife Authorities, he was trained by the AEF to perform educational free-flight demonstrations at high profile public events.
He’s the first Bald Eagle in U.S. History that learned to free-fly into Stadiums, arenas and ballrooms during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. The celebrity eagle has appeared at numerous major sporting events like the World Series, Pro-Bowl, All-Star game, BCS National Championship, Fiesta Bowl, Men’s Final Four, etc.
This eagle named Challenger has also flown before 4 U.S. Presidents!
His life story is told in a children’s storybook
I did a little Googling and found that Bald Eagles live about 25 years in the wild and 40 to 50 years in a controlled environment, so there is a very good chance “Challenger” is still with us.  Hat tip to Bill Bish for sending this.

Apache Junction City Council names new city manager

Bryant Powell


Bryant Powell Named as New City Manager

During their June 16, 2015 meeting the Apache Junction City Council formally appointed Bryant Powell as the new city manager starting July 1, 2015. Bryant is replacing George Hoffman, who served as the city manager since 2002, and is retiring at the end of June. “I would like to thank the mayor and city council for their confidence in me and my abilities to lead the city. I’ve had a wonderful mentor in George and thank him for his years of service to our community” said Bryant.

Mayor John Insalaco remarked, “The city is pleased to have Bryant as our new city manager. Bryant has taken on many significant responsibilities over the years, and we have the upmost confidence in his abilities to lead our city.”

Bryant has been with the city of Apache Junction for over 14 years starting as the Assistant to the City Manager. He was promoted to Assistant City Manager in 2003. Bryant holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Brigham Young University, as well as an undergraduate degree in Spanish, with a minor in Political Science from Southern Utah University. In 2014, Bryant received the Credentialed Manager designation from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). He is the first ICMA-Credentialed Manager to work for the City of Apache Junction. Bryant also received the Catherine F. Connolly Outstanding Assistant City/County Manager Award from the Arizona City/County Management Association.

Bryant has been a member of the Rotary Club of Superstition Mountain since 2010 serving as their president from July, 2014 to June, 2015. He also serves on the Apache Junction Chamber of Commerce’s Board as an Ex-Officio member.

Bryant and his wife Jenny have three daughters and have lived in Apache Junction for 14 years. Bryant is a native of Arizona, having been raised in Safford


Pinal County considers special road tax

Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015 11:09 am

FLORENCE — It’s no secret Pinal County is facing a financial crisis, and county leaders are now scrambling to find more revenue to keep the ship afloat.

People can argue over the reasons for the fiscal doom and gloom, but one thing is certain — the county’s reserve fund is dwindling fast. On May 27, the Board of Supervisors passed a preliminary budget with a proposed increase in the primary property tax from $3.79 to $3.99 per $100 of net assessed valuation.

The preliminary budget, which passed by a 3-2 vote, also includes a 4 percent across-the-board budget cut for all county departments, which follows a 2 percent budget cut passed earlier this year.

But it appears those moves aren’t enough. The board has determined it needs to find additional revenue sources if it’s going to stem the bleeding, partly because of continuing and new cuts to Pinal County estimated at $5.8 million as a result of the recently passed state budget.

The board held a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the possibility of creating a jail district or a regional transportation authority.

Membership in a regional transportation authority would include Pinal County, every municipality in the county and Central Arizona Governments.

Under an existing half-cent road tax in Pinal County for transportation, annual revenues averaged about $16 million a year over the past decade. County Manager Greg Stanley said that revenue is divided among all the municipalities and the county.

The RTA would institute a separate half-cent excise tax, and all the revenue would go to the RTA. That revenue would likely be used on one of three large-scale transportation projects in the county — Interstate 11, a North-South corridor or an East-West parkway corridor.

This kind of tax must be approved by the voters, and board members were comfortable with that.

“If the voters in an election say, ‘Nope, it’s not important,’ then I think we, as the Board of Supervisors and leaders in the county, have to accept those results,” Smith said.

However, Smith added he hopes people will “realize the value” in voting to create a RTA and institute a half-cent excise tax. He said he’d like to see it put to a special election next March.

Smith said for Pinal County to be successful in economic development and reach its full potential, it will have to make that type of commitment.

Supervisor Steve Miller, R-Casa Grande, said he also supports moving forward with putting the RTA issue on the ballot.

“Transportation dollars are getting harder and harder to get,” he said. “We’re gonna have to figure out ways to fund some of these transportation projects. I’ve always said Pinal County is kind of transportation challenged, with our infrastructure.”

Supervisors were not as receptive to creating a jail district.

The jail district would provide revenue through an excise tax or a secondary property tax. An excise tax is usually included in the price of things like gasoline or hotel rooms.

Chris Keller, legal counsel for the Board of Supervisors, said jail districts are already in place in Coconino and Apache counties, but he added he didn’t know how much revenue the districts brought those counties.

Supervisor Anthony Smith, R-Maricopa, said a jail district didn’t meet a couple of his criteria.

“I don’t want to add another tax, another burden to the people … unless there is some specific reason for doing so, or that it’s time-limited,” he said. “To me, neither one of these qualifications exist with a jail district.”

Smith said the revenue would go toward maintenance and operations for the Pinal County jail, which is already financed through the county general fund. He said the money should instead go toward specific projects.

In theory, a jail district would help pay for high costs associated with running the jail. But board Vice Chairman Pete Rios, D-Dudleyville, said the county could help finance those costs another way.

The goal, he said, is to fill hundreds of beds that are empty at the jail after the cancellation of the county’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“We’re currently, in some respects, through the Sheriff’s Office, working with the Department of Corrections to try to see if we can get a contract with the state of Arizona to fill 1,000 of those beds,” he said


CAC board decides to reduce tax increase to 20%

Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 5:36 pm | Updated: 5:53 pm, Tue Jun 9, 2015.

SIGNAL PEAK — The Central Arizona College Governing board voted to cut its property increase down to 20 percent Tuesday afternoon during a special meeting held in the Pence Center on the college’s Signal Peak Campus.

Last month the board gave approval to a $105 million budget that included a property tax increase of close to 85 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, or nearly a 45 percent increase. That increase now has been cut down to a 20 percent increase.

A number of people spoke at Tuesday’s meeting before the board took its vote. There has been vocal opposition to the tax increase including a recall effort directed at the four board members who voted for it by a committee called Citizens for Fair Taxation.

More information on the meeting will appear in Wednesday’s print edition of the Casa Grande Dispatch and in the eEdition online. To subscribe call 520-423-8685 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.



by Tom DeWeese
June 8, 2015

The number of candidates for President seems to grow on a daily basis. Each new candidate attempts to convince us they are the new hope for a better tomorrow. Jobs. Inequality. And the ever popular – “let’s be bipartisan so we can all move forward together!” These are the topics – the safe topics – they stick to. All designed to assure that they hit emotional buttons in each of us, yet don’t cause controversy.

In fact, about the only reason we are given to vote for these candidates is that perhaps a charge that their opponent is involved in some kind of scandal or hired an illegal gardener. They resort to character assassination of their opponents as they dig for dirt. Or, the most common reasons we are given by candidates to vote for them, often reduced to the vocabulary of a cave man – “Republican good — Democrat bad!” (or visa versa, depending on the candidate.) Are such grunts what the once proud American election system has been reduced to?

Consequently, as has been the case for the last many elections, rarely does a candidate risk taking on the really vital issues that get to the core of our nation’s pending demise. Have you heard a single candidate address any of these issues:

The massive destruction of American industry by the EPA and other over-reaching government regulations – killing jobs by the thousands?

The near complete usurpation of private property rights in communities and rural areas under the tiresome excuse of environmental protection? Who stands with the property owners as they see their American dream shattered under the innocuous title of “community development?”

The growing imposition of non-elected boards and regional governments that are fast replacing our elected representatives in making local community decisions – all powered by the imposition of federal grants that dictate policy, making most states and communities serfs of the federal government?

The complete federal takeover of state and local school systems, enforcing a national curriculum that warps history, destroys mathematics and provides little in the way of real academics. Today’s “education” system basically focuses on behavior modification of the children, dwelling on changing their attitudes, values and beliefs. Frankly, that is little more than child abuse. Such a systematic manipulation and indoctrination of young minds is creating ignorant, mindless global village idiots that are easily maneuvered for political purposes.

Have any of these politicians even bothered to study the policies of the Department of Education or looked at the fine print of an EPA grant program to see what is required? If not, why not? If they intend to be the leader of the nation – shouldn’t they know what they are leading?

Kiss a baby! How about hugging a victim, such as a property owner that just had their dreams shattered as government bull dozers destroyed their yard for a bike path? How about one of these politicians standing with parents as their children are expelled from school because they wore a tee shirt with an American flag on it? Strange, as more and more of these victims emerge, the candidates never seem to mention them.

Of course the main stream news media pumps up this meaningless process by focusing only on the scandals and the other non-issues as they avoid reporting on real life. Scandals get headlines. Massive regulatory overreach is simply the proper role of government, according to the news media. Of course, they will sponsor talk shows that pretend to do in-depth study and discussion of certain issues. But, mostly you will find the decks stacked against anyone who disagrees with the party line. Four to one is the usual standard of “fairness.”

So, in such a climate, the politicians are able to get by with their non-issue campaigns. Debates, always hosted by the same news media, never ask the candidates substantial issue questions. And so the charade goes on, and those candidates who are best able to do the non-issue dance make it through. .

It’s time to change all of that. Here’s how.

Put the candidates on the spot during their public meetings. As they pontificate about their readiness to run the United States of America, ask them questions that matter to real Americans.

Starting now, as the presidential campaign heats up, let me offer three questions designed to shake up any public candidate meeting. A word of caution – do not take this action alone. Organize with at least three friends. Have each choose one of these questions to ask the candidates. If you have more people to join you, have others prepared to do a follow up question if they fail to answer. As you get your moment in front of the microphone, read the statement as I’ve provided below and then finish with the question shown in bold:

Property Rights Question

1 – Private property rights are under assault in communities and rural areas across the nation as local, state and federal governments move to enforce new planning development programs, particularly under the labels of Sustainable Developments or “Local Visioning.” If elected, what actions will you take to protect the unrestricted right of use, enjoyment and disposal of private property by its owners?

Regional Government Question

2 – It’s a growing situation that local elected representative government is being overshadowed by the establishment of non- elected boards, councils, planning commissions and regional governments. These non-elected organizations are, in effect, taking government further away from the people as they deal in backrooms, unseen and unapproachable. Yet, while not elected by the people, they are creating policy that affects private property, tax rates and much more, especially through the taking of federal grant money, which results in federal control over the use and outcome of that money. If elected, what actions will you take to eliminate these massive grant programs and to stop federal efforts to enforce creation of non-elected boards, councils and regional government boards?

Social Justice Question

3 – The term social justice is used more and more in today’s official society. The actual meaning of social justice is redistribution of wealth, much of which is imposed through the tool of political correctness. Social Justice is used to create class warfare and divisions in our society. It is now widely used in our public school curricula to replace actual academics with behavior modification methods designed to change the attitudes, values and beliefs of the children. The openly stated purpose of such programs as Outcome based education and Common Core is to create new global citizens who reject traditional American values of individual freedom, free enterprise and limited government. Such curriculum is enforced through a centralized Federal Department of Education, which has usurped local input. If elected, will you take action to shut down the federal Department of Education and return education policy to the states, making sure to end these orchestrated attacks on the attitudes, values and beliefs of the children?

Each of these questions pertain to one of the planks of Agenda 21. The three planks are 1. Social Equity; 2. Economic Prosperity; 3. Ecology (the assault on property rights). These are the infamous 3 E’s of Agenda 21.

Ask these questions in a public forum and watch those clueless candidates squirm. Most won’t have an answer. In fact most won’t even know what you are talking about. They will try to evade or put some positive spin on it. But you will know. You will understand that such candidates will never work to fix these problems. And so will the rest of the audience.

It is time for our movement to take aggressive action against these slithering candidates. We need to descend on pubic forums. Organize. Place our people strategically around the room. And one by one begin to ask these questions. When they can’t answer, have someone else ask it again, and again. Let them know they had better give these issues some thought. Let them know that we are going to be there every time they appear in public. And let them know we are going to make them look like fools in front of audiences until they decide to actually talk about issues that mean something to real Americans.

Agenda 21 is designed to change our nation; our way of life; and our form of government. These candidates want to allow those changes to quietly take place, unseen and unnoticed by the public, while they remain silent. If the candidates want to drastically change our nation, then it’s time we have a national debate about it. Starting today, ask the questions that will fire that debate.Property owners; parents; small business owners. All are suffering from issues these candidates refuse to discuss. Make them discuss them. Make them show their true colors. Make our issues the ones that dominate this election campaign. Make them afraid to not talk about these issues.

© 2015 Tom DeWeese – All Rights Reserved